CFP: Toni Morrison's prose and fiction (undergrad) (11/30/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Jami Carlacio
contact email: 

Call For Papers: Collection of Essays on Toni Morrison's prose and fiction

Reading Toni Morrison: Students Writing on Race, Culture, and Identity

I am currently soliciting contributions from undergraduate university
students for a collection of essays on the work of Toni Morrison. Essays
may come from a variety of disciplines, including history, American
Studies, English, and Rhetoric.

This project affirms the central importance of Morrison's contribution to
American letters in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As we already
know, scholarship on Morrison numbers in the hundreds of essays and
full-length texts, but the attention paid to this Nobel Laureate has come
from professional scholars, not from undergraduates who have done some
insightful and provocative work on her. I intend for this anthology,
tentatively titled _Reading Toni Morrison: Students Writing on Race,
Culture, and Identity_, to showcase the excellent work that students have
done that calls attention to Morrison's contribution to American
culture--particularly our relationship to the history of racism as well as
to identity and cultural politics. This anthology will demonstrate to
future undergraduate students the possibility of producing capable,
informed, and stimulating scholarship on Morrison's fiction and prose and
will function as a pedagogical model for other students who are writing on
or reading her. This anthology may also offer those who teach Morrison
ideas about how to approach reading, writing, and discussing her.

I invite completed essays that address the following topics:

    * How the themes of literacy, identity, and whiteness function in
Morrison's Nobel Lecture, "Site of Memory,"and/or _Playing in the Dark_,
and several of the novels.
    * Morrison's Nobel Lecture as it explores whether language is living or
dead, and what its limitations are if it is dead. If language is "a system,
partly as a living thing over which one has control, but mostly as agency,
as an act with consequences," then how might we use language is to tell
stories, to make sense of our lives?
    * How Morrison complicates our reading by revising traditional, linear
narrative structures to create a multi-vocal text that complicates our
understanding of history and highlights the importance of memory
    * How such narrative structures illustrate the way memory operates in
telling the past
    * How Morrison uses the African folk tradition and stream of
consciousness technique to illustrate how these work to complicate the
dominant culture's account of slavery
    * The role of journeys, both secular and spiritual
    * The importance of storytelling and history in the shaping of a self,
from childhood to adulthood, from innocence to maturity
    * The meaning of selfhood, particularly the importance of maintaining
it in the face of reductionist thinking and essentializing tendencies.
    * The role of love, motherhood, and gender in several of Morrison's novels
    * The importance of love and its multi-faceted definitions
    * How Morrison uses characters in _Beloved_ as a vehicle to explore the
problematic nature of gender and gender roles in slavery
    * How Morrison uses characters in _Sula_ to explore the role of men in
relationship to women
    * The themes of violence, loss, and regeneration
    * The role of history in fiction
    * The role of racial self-loathing and its consequences

More options are welcome, including essays on any of Morrison's fiction and
prose essays as well as her critical text, _Playing in the Dark_.

Submission Guidelines:

Please send completed and polished essays via e-mail attachment or hard
copy (750 - 3000 words, or between three [minimum] to ten pages [maximum],
with complete bibliographic citations) by November 30, 2004. Email
submissions accepted only in as MS Word attachment.

Please adhere to citation guidelines outlined by MLA (

Essays will be reviewed blindly: submit essay and title page separately.

1) Submit essay with title but without your name as a separate document
from the title page.

2) Submit title page with your name, the essay's title, and complete
contact information to:

Dr. Jami L. Carlacio

English Department
Goldwin Smith 250
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

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Received on Sun Jul 25 2004 - 14:20:55 EDT